Game Nine (9) Open Thread - Twins v. Royals

USA TODAY Sports

Your first place Kansas City Royals, mind you.

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The weather is chilly: low forties and headed into the thirties as the game goes on. If it has not stopped raining by the time you read this, the precipitation is supposed to be vacating the area before game time. Bob Dutton himself tweets that they expect to play tonight.

Speaking of tweets, the Royals' David Holtzman indicates that last night's FSKC broadcast was the second highest rated among 887 events shown. Yep, I think folks are interested.

The standard lineup takes the field tonight:

Gordon LF, Escobar SS, Butler DH, Moustakas 3B, Perez C, Hosmer 1B, Francoeur RF, Cain CF and Getz 2B

Wade Davis is on the mound and we took a close look at him in the Game Preview a few hours back.

The opposing pitcher is Liam Hendriks. The twenty-four year old right-hander did not make it out of the fifth inning in his first start of 2013 as the Orioles battered him for four runs on eight hits. You have seen him before, Royals fans, as Liam started twice in a twelve day span against Kansas City last September. He gave up five runs (three earned) on ten hits in less than four innings last September 1st and came back on the 13th to give up three runs and seven hits over five innings. Featuring a fastball/slider/curve/change-up repertoire, Hendriks will be making his 22nd career start.

Small sample size fun. Going into today's action, the Royals were:

  • 3rd in runs in the American League
  • Last in home runs
  • 2nd in stolen bases
  • 3rd in batting average (Ryan LeFebvre approves)
  • 13th in walks, but second best in fewest strikeouts (that cannot be proper English)
  • The Royals' bullpen has recorded more saves than anyone in the AL
  • The pitching staff as a whole is 2nd in strikeout rate
  • 1st in walk rate (the good first, mind you)
  • 5th in ERA
Off day tomorrow, then three with Toronto, another off-day, two at Atlanta and then another off-day. To put it another way, the Royals only play 8 games in the next 12 days starting Thursday. If Ned Yost wanted to shorten up the rotation, this is his chance. He could come back this weekend with Shields, Santana and Guthrie, start Mendoza in Atlanta and come back with Shields, Santana and Guthrie once more.

If Wade Davis were to struggle again, would you skip him in favor of more starts for the first three?

And let's be perfectly clear: that prior question was asked solely with the intent of causing Davis to give us six strong innings tonight.
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